Stock futures rise, helped by Facebook, US GDP

KEN SWEET AP Markets Writer Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stock futures are rising ahead of the market open on Wall Street, helped by strong earnings from Facebook and an encouraging report that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 53 points to 15,751 as of 8:45 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose nearly seven points to 1,777.60 and the Nasdaq futures were up 20 points to 3,493.

INVESTORS 'LIKE' FACEBOOK: Social media company Facebook was up 19 percent in pre-market trading. Facebook reported results late Thursday that exceeded the expectations of financial analysts. Facebook's adjusted profit was 31 cents per share, four cents better than forecast.

POSITIVE ECONOMIC NEWS: The U.S. economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the final three months of 2013, a positive sign for the economy in 2014. Consumer spending improved in the quarter, which is important because that spending makes up roughly two-thirds of economic activity in the U.S.

ROUGH JANUARY: The Dow is down 5 percent in January, the worst start to a year since 2009. Emerging markets worries have driven most of the sell-off. A survey Thursday confirmed that manufacturing in China, the world's second-biggest economy, unexpectedly slowed in January.

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